After the fall-out from Baku, Lewis Hamilton got back to work by breaking the outright lap record in the first practice session in Austria.
The Brit, looking to eat into Sebastian Vettel’s 14-point World Championship lead, set a 1:05.975 on soft tyres, the slowest tyre compound available this weekend.
Max Verstappen was on course to go even quicker after setting the fastest time in the first sector, but he was forced to settle for P2, a shade under two tenths behind, after spinning wide at Turn 1 – a reoccuring theme of the first session.
Verstappen’s best times were set on supersofts and the same can be said by Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas who rounded off the top three, three tenths off the pace.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both recovered from early spins to finish P4 and P6 respectively, with four tenths separating the two Ferrari drivers on the supersofts.
Nestled in between them was Daniel Ricciardo in P5, who quietly went about his business in Spielberg.
Elsewhere, there were encouraging first signs as both McLaren drivers finished inside the top 10 as they tested out Honda’s new engine upgrade without any hiccups.
But, there were some balance issues for Williams, who have also come armed with a major aerodynamic update this weekend, as Felipe Massa in P11 and Lance Stroll in P15 kept getting repeatedly caught out at the final two high-speed corners.
Renault’s Sergey Sirotkin and Force India’s Alfonso Celis Jr were down in P16 and P17 respectively as they picked up more Formula 1 experience.
Sauber adopted their usual position as the session’s backmarkers.
1 HAM Mercedes 00:01:05.975
2 VPN Red Bull 00:01:06.165
3 BOT Mercedes 00:01:06.345
4 VET Ferrari 00:01:06.424
5 RIC Red Bull 00:01:06.620
6 RAI Ferrari 00:01:06.848
7 VAN McLaren 00:01:07.283
8 KVY Toro Rosso 00:01:07.437
9 ALO McLaren 00:01:07.510
10 OCO Force India 00:01:07.511
11 MAS Williams 00:01:07.550
12 MAG Haas F1 00:01:07.594
13 SAI Toro Rosso 00:01:07.633
14 PAL Renault 00:01:07.649
15 STR Williams 00:01:08.041
16 GRO Haas F1 00:01:08.074
17 SIR Renault 00:01:08.586
18 CEL Force India 00:01:09.280
19 WEH Sauber 00:01:09.323
20 ERI Sauber 00:01:10.853
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 7, 2017